Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : March 8th 2015 Contents RENUKA SINGH
A Saudi Arabian contingent,
photographed entering Parlia-
ment on Friday, toured the
Chaguaramas Convention Cen-
tre, Chaguaramas peninsula
and Tobago s Magdalena Grand
Beach Resort to weigh their
The group, the Sunday
Guardian learned, is ready to
invest some US$1 billion into
T&T and have already met with
Trade and Investment Minister
Vasant Bharath and Housing
Minister Dr Roodal Moonilal
during their short time in T&T.
The Sunday Guardian under-
stands that while the group dis-
cussed several investment
options for the billionaire Saudi
businessmen, at the top of the
list is the expansion and upgrade
of Tobago s most exclusive resort,
investment in the Chaguaramas
Convention Centre and invest-
ment in commercial and resi-
dential developments on both
The group discussed the pos-
sibility of investing in the con-
struction of an exclusive hotel
and shopping mall reminiscent
of those in oil-rich Dubai.
Bharath, in a brief interview
yesterday, confirmed that the
men were at Parliament on Fri-
day to meet with him and said
this was the delegation s third
visit to T&T.
"They are interested in invest-
ing in T&T. They are extremely
interested in investing in resi-
dential as well as commercial
property," Bharath said.
Bharath first met with the
interested investors when his
ministry visited the United Arab
Emirates to receive a World Bank
Award for improvement in the
public service delivery back in
"They have requested a T&T
presence in Saudi, that is an
invesTT office," Bharath said.
He also confirmed the con-
tingent toured the Magdalena
Grand yesterday, looking at the
expansion and upgrade options.
When asked if the men were
looking to buy the hotel, Bharath
said it was an investment, not
"Invest in expanding with the
Government," he said.
The Magdalena Grand Beach
resort, located in Lowlands,
Tobago, is fully owned by the
Back in 2011, the rundown
Plantations estate underwent a
massive and expensive renovation
before being rebranded as The
The same property was once
the Tobago Hilton which closed
back in 2008. International
hoteliers behind the Hilton brand
pulled their name from the hotel
and the property was then offered
on the market for just under $140
In 2011, the Government utilised
US$25 million and undertook
repair and rebranding through
Evolving Technologies (eTeck).
ABOUT MAGDALENA GRAND BEACH RESORT
March 8, 2015 www.guardian.co.tt Sunday Guardian
Saudis in T&T for firsthand look at property
on their radar
Chaguaramas Development Authority (CDA) chairman Danny Solomon, right, shows two Saudi
Arabian businessmen his golf swing at the Chaguaramas Golf Course on Friday. The businessmen
reportedly want to invest US$1 billion in projects in both Trinidad and Tobago.
PHOTO COURTESY UMAR MOHAMMED, TRINIDAD/SAUDI CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
This most recent interest in the local hotels comes
just days after Opposition leader Dr Keith Rowley
raised the question of the possible divestment of the
Chaguaramas Convention Centre.
Speaking at a cottage meeting in Marabella last
week, Rowley claimed that the Government had
disposed of eight acres of prime estate at
Chaguaramas, on which the convention centre and
hotel were built.
Rowley's comment prompted Chaguaramas
Development Authority (CDA) chairman Danny
Solomon and chief executive officer Jocelyn Hargreaves
to reveal that the area was not sold, but leased to Insite
Like the Saudi businessmen, Insite Developers are
seeking to "partner" with an international brand hotel
management operator for a four-star hotel in
In a telephone interview yesterday, however,
Solomon said the visitors did not actually tour the
actual Convention Centre, but did a land and sea tour
which showed them what the CDA had to offer and the
rest of the Chaguaramas peninsula.
Solomon also said that the Convention Centre is in
dire need of over $200 million in repairs. He said just
two weeks ago, the T&T Electricity Commission
(T&TEC) declared that 75 per cent of the building was
unsafe and condemned portions of the aged structure.
"It is a drain and it should be a good thing if we are
looking to diversify the income stream," Solomon said
Any possible investment could be a positive move for
the centre, as Bharath described the Saudi-linked
investments as "very high end" and similar to projects
Bharath said the US$1 billion investment is not the
end, but rather the beginning as they will be making
that massive investment "in the first instance."
$200M TO REPAIR CENTRE
The Sunday Guardian contacted head of the
Trinidad/Saudi Chamber of Commerce, Canadian
Shazaad Mohammed, who has Trinidadian lineage and
currently lives in Saudi Arabia, for comment on the
pending investment yesterday.
Mohammed confirmed that the Saudi group had
toured the Chaguaramas Convention Centre and the
Magdalena Grand over the past two days.
"We have not made a decision on either yet, but we
are looking at investments like that of the Magdalena,"
He confirmed that the group also toured several
beach front properties in Tobago, looking at them for
"In Trinidad we looked at the Chaguaramas
Convention Centre, looking at investments there as
well," Mohammed said.
He said the Saudi Arabian group also spoke with
Government representatives regarding the construction
of a residential condo in Tobago and a five-star hotel in
He said the Trinidad/Saudi Chamber of Commerce is
already planning another series of high-level talks with
another batch of investors, with plans to visit T&T with
them in the coming months.
TALKS NOT DONE YET
Links Archive March 7th 2015 March 9th 2015 Navigation Previous Page Next Page